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I often hear these abbreviations while talking about regionalisation in gaming.

I think PAL is from Europe, and NTSC in North America, but what do these two abbreviations stand for and mean?

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    Never Twice the Same Color.
    – bmargulies
    Apr 8, 2017 at 18:42
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    This is trivially researched.
    – Frank
    Apr 8, 2017 at 21:36
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    On any other Stack Exchange site, this question would be quickly closed...
    – AStopher
    Apr 9, 2017 at 9:17
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    @cybermonkey Close votes are not for bad questions, they are for off-topic questions. Apr 9, 2017 at 16:45
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    @cybermonkey None of which are "low quality". That's a downvote reason. Apr 9, 2017 at 16:59

2 Answers 2

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These are the two most common video standards used in the world. While VHS video format is the same throughout the world, video standard or electronic signals that are recorded on the cassette varies from country to country. See more here.

Another way to describe them: NTSC and PAL are two color encoding systems that affect the visual quality of content viewed on analog TVs, and to a much smaller degree, the content on HDTVs.

NTSC (National Television System Committee) is the video system or standard used in North America and most of South America. In NTSC, 30 frames are transmitted per second, with each frame being made up of 525 individual scan lines. The resolution is 720x480 and it offers manual color correction.

PAL (Phase Alternating Line) is the main video system or standard used in most other parts of the world. In PAL, 25 frames are transmitted per second, with each frame being made up of 625 individual scan lines. The resolution is 720x576 and it offers automated color correction.

There is technically a third standard, SECAM, that is used in France and some other Eastern European countries.

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    Just a note - for NTSC, it's not used in all the listed countries since digital conversion, as far as I understand it.
    – user11502
    Apr 8, 2017 at 17:21
  • Hmm okay, I'll remove specifics and just leave it as a general thing! Thanks
    – n_plum
    Apr 8, 2017 at 17:21
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    Analogue TV doesn't actually have a fixed horizontal resolution. The horizontal resolution can be anywhere from 1 to whatever the bandwidth of the transmission medium allows without blurring it all together. The horizontal resolution is also somewhat variable, there's always 525 or 625 individual scan lines, but the number them actually used to display video varies. Also, it would be incorrect to describe the resolution used as an aspect ratio, which was always 4:3 for NTSC over-the-air transmissions and either 4:3 or 16:9 for PAL.
    – user86571
    Apr 8, 2017 at 18:05
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    @n_palum These are the two most common video standards used in the country. Did you mean used in the world?
    – Timmy Jim
    Apr 8, 2017 at 18:23
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    "France and some other Eastern European countries" makes it sound like France is an Eastern European country.
    – You
    Apr 9, 2017 at 9:47
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The names come from video encoding modes.

PAL (Phase Alternating Line) - this is more commonly used in Europe and parts of Asia/Africa.

NTSC (National Television System Committee) - this is commonly used in the Americas, South Korea and Japan (or, well, was until digital conversion).

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